Pittsburgh tests a new traffic management system

Pittsburgh expanding test of traffic management system

Pittsburgh is looking to expand its test of a traffic management system that could cut both travel time and vehicle emissions.

The board of the city's Stadium Authority voted Oct. 9 to approve the agreement with Rapid Flow Technologies to install its Surtrac adaptive signal control technology at 28 intersections in the North Shore section of the city.

According to city officials, Surtrac -- which was developed through Carnegie Mellon University’s Traffic21 research initiative -- cut vehicle wait times by 42 percent, travel times by 24 percent and vehicle emissions by 21 percent when initially deployed at intersections in the East Liberty section of the city.

Surtrac optimizes traffic signals in real-time instead of relying on fixed schedules that are used at most intersections. Surtrac watches for shifting traffic conditions and adjusts signal timings to respond to changes in the environment, such as large crowds entering or leaving an event, vehicle breakdowns or car accidents, to improve traffic flow.

The contract with Rapid Flow Technologies is for traffic modeling only; if that work is deemed successful, design and construction contracts would be needed to build out the technology at the intersections.  Such work would be subject to public requests for proposals and competitive bidding.

About the Author

Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.

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